If you did write them down, quickly take out your list of 2020 New Year resolutions. Now, how many of them did you actually achieve? What’s the bet you didn’t get most, if any, done. According to the U.S. News & World Report, 80% of people fail to realize their New Year’s resolutions!
Business New Year’s resolutions are even more important for entrepreneurs to achieve, especially if you think about them as goals. Every business needs specific, actionable goals or else you’re just steering a ship without a compass. And what better time to set goals than the start of a new year, and in this case, a new decade too!
While you can’t have 20/20 vision into the future to see what 2021 has in store, you can set yourself some solid business goals and do your best to make sure they happen.
Based on challenges faced by many businesses in 2020, below are our top 10 recommended small business New Year’s resolutions for 2021.
10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Business
1. Prioritize cyber security
Customer data breaches were a hot topic in 2020, affecting even giant corporations with huge cybersecurity budgets. But it’s not just large businesses that are the target of cyber attackers, in fact 43% of all cyber-attacks are aimed at small businesses (Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report). Most of those small businesses that suffered a breach won’t survive – in fact, 60% go out of business within 6 months after an attack, according to the SEC (US Securities and Exchange Commission).
But it’s not all doom and gloom if you take all the necessary precautions – and it doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg.
Your resolution for 2021 should be to re-look at your cyber security measures and invest in them if they’re inadequate. This should be your highest priority as it literally can make or break your business.
Here are the steps you can take to achieve this cyber security resolution:
- Update your security software regularly
- Ensure you use end-to-end encryption software if you accept online transactions and secure your point-of-sale systems
- Educate employees about malware and phishing (fraudulent method of obtaining sensitive information by posing as a trustworthy entity via email)
- Hire an IT expert or use the services of a contractor if you don’t have the budget for a full-time tech person
2. Build new revenue streams
There are many creative ways these days to increase your business revenue. You can do it either by finding new customers or increasing sales to existing customers. There are always new and better ways to target your ideal customer, so make sure you’re caught up with the best methods for your industry.
How to find new customers online:
- Influencer marketing – big brands use celebs as online influencers, but small businesses can connect with social media influencers in their industry. Look for Twitter influencers, for example, with 100,000 or fewer followers.
- Targeted Facebook ads – based on location, demographic, interests.
- Google My Business – create a localized listing to target customers in your area.
How to sell more to existing customers:
- Subscription model – try getting customers to subscribe to your product online or in-store. Subscription buying is a huge trend amongst millennials, who want to enjoy as much convenience as possible.
- Upsell – try selling additional products to existing customers.
- Bundle – this involves bundling a few complementary products together so you can increase your revenue from a single customer.
Want to find out how your competitors are performing in terms of revenue? Click here to read our 2019 US Retail Sales Report for the full scoop and some surprising stats.
3. Use technology to automate
You have a lot on your plate so don’t waste your precious time on low-value daily tasks, rather put your efforts into growing your business. Technology can help you save time, cut costs, and streamline processes. These tech tools are now more affordable so are accessible to small businesses.
Here are some examples of where you can let tech take the lead:
- Chatbots for customer service
- Bookkeeping software
- Social media scheduling tools
- Email marketing automation
4. Improve your cash flow
Cash flow can make or break a business with over 80% of small business failures being caused by cash flow issues. One of your top resolutions for 2021 should be to maintain a steady cash flow stream. The good news is that the Federal Reserve recently announced that interest rates will likely not be raised in 2021. This is good news for entrepreneurs who need business funding for cash flow or any other purpose.
5. Stop procrastinating
We consulted with Amit Shalgi, our very own VP Marketing Communications and Customer Success at Become (and resident productivity guru) and this is her advice:
Procrastination gets the better of all of us. Even if you don’t overcome it completely, you should try to combat it as much as possible.
Here are some of her top tips to overcome procrastination:
- Set a specific deadline with a time and date – put it into your calendar with notifications.
- Don’t multi-task and don’t move on to something else until you’ve completed that task within its deadline.
- Tackle the tasks you like the least, first.
- Reward yourself for small achievements.
6. Become more organized
It goes without saying that organization leads to productivity. Even if it doesn’t come naturally to you, there are many affordable online tools available to help you stay organized in the workplace:
- Monday.com can help you organize your and your team’s tasks.
- Gmail’s archiving feature can help you keep your inbox under control.
- Cloud-based accounting systems can help you keep paperwork to a minimum.
7. Retain and attract the best employees
One of your New Year resolutions for workplace optimization should be to keep your employees happy. Your first goal should be employee engagement and retaining your talent before you worry about attracting new talent.
These are our favorite ways of keeping our employees satisfied:
- Offering work-from-home opportunities.
- Providing healthcare benefits – we recently had a nurse visit our office to give the flu shot.
- Celebrating small successes to show appreciation and to motivate.
8. Collect customer reviews
If you don’t already do this, then one of your business new year’s resolutions should be to get customers to review you online. It’s one of the most powerful strategies you can employ – as much as 82% of adults in the US claim to read customer reviews before making a first-time purchase (Pew Research Center).
Not only do reviews provide that all-important social validation and credibility, but they even help boost your ranking on Google.
So where do you start?
- TrustPilot – set up an account and invite your customers to leave a review.
- Google My Business – good customer review option for local businesses.
- Facebook – if you have a Facebook business page, you can gather reviews from your page followers.
9. Cut your losses
Unrewarding project sucking the life out of you? If a project is getting nowhere, is draining your resources and funds, and diverting your attention from more rewarding activities, then don’t be afraid to purge your business. Many business owners hold back from offloading such baggage but if it’s holding you back, then let it go.
10. Try something outside of the box
There’s no better time than the beginning of a new year to try something new. Have a brainstorming session, be creative, and think of a new product or project you’ve never tried before. Then resolve to sink your teeth into it in 2021.
Don’t repeat 2020’s mistakes
Did you make mistakes in 2020? No problem, that’s water under the bridge and you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have the occasional ‘oops’ moment. Multi-billionaire entrepreneurs have made some real whoppers and succeeded to tell the tale – Richard Branson declared war on Coke with Virgin Cola (does anyone remember that?), George Lucas sold Pixar to Apple for $5 million (whoops), and these are just a drop in the ocean.
The trick to making mistakes is to avoid repeating them. That’s what distinguishes the successes from the failures. Write down your major blunders from last year, maybe even print them out, and they’ll serve as a constant reminder of what not to do in 2021.
Transform New Year’s resolutions into business goals
The best way to make sure your small business new year’s resolutions stick is to turn them into business goals. Are you more likely to work on resolutions or goals? It’s all in the semantics.
To turn your New Year’s resolutions into goals you should put pen to paper, laminate them, and distribute them throughout your business.
What are your 2021 business goals?